It's mid-way through December and many of us are knee deep in holiday planning and entertaining. Whether it's an intimate gathering of neighbours or a glitzy New Years Eve party, the December 6th release at VINTAGES has a number of wines to suit every palate and budget.
White wines are especially easy to sip on their own as an aperitif or with an assortment of hard and soft cheeses, crackers, pate, olives, antipasto. Dry or off-dry whites with refreshing acidity opens the palate and prepares it for food. Here are some of my choices to look for in VINTAGES:
Château La Grave D'arzac Blanc 2013 France $15.95
A very nice white Bordeaux blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Pale lemon, light body with refreshing acidity. Grassy ,herbal, honey, stoney minerality, grapefruit, wet wood. Great value at $15.95. Sip and enjoy.
Pieropan Classico Soave 2013 Italy $19.95
Pale lemon, light body and fresh acidity. Lemon-lime medley with apple, minerality and saline. This Soave is bringing the sexy back to this grape. Long mouthwatering finish.
Dr. Bürklin-Wolf Estate Trocken Riesling 2012 Germany $19.95
This German Riesling is dry, light-bodied, medium+ acidity and I detected a slight effervescence. Pale lemon-green colour with characteristics of apple, peach, citrus, floral and petrol. Refreshing finish.
Vineland Estates Winery Elevation St. Urban Riesling 2012 Ontario $19.95
Beautifully crafted Ontario Riesling. Low alcohol with refreshing acidity encompassing lots of Niagara fruit and Bench citrus qualities. Fruit blossoms, minerality, zest, petrol. Part of the small production Elevation series, the grapes are hand-picked and hand-sorted from old vines with first plantings in 1979. At $20 this is a bargain.
The above selected wines are lovely choices for dinner as well. However, weightier "winter whites" are perfect with traditional roasted turkey or the vegetarian option of grilled salmon. Here are my choices to look for in VINTAGES:
Featherstone Canadian Oak Chardonnay 2012 Ontario $21.95
Oh Canada! Fermented with local indigenous yeast and in oak barrels sourced from the banks of the Grand River in Brantford, Ontario. The result is a rich Chardonnay with a lovely medium lemon colour. Niagara stone fruit, apple, citrus, honey, butter, vanilla and nutmeg. Good acidity to balance this rich medium bodied white wine. Long length with a mouth coating finish.
Alpha Omega Unoaked Chardonnay 2012 California $44.95
Fermented in S/S tanks instead of oak preserves the freshness of the fruit and shows restraint compared many California Chard producers. Medium lemon colour with aromas and flavours of apples, lemon, white blossoms, tropical fruit. The length is long with a warming finish. Medium+ acidity. Dry.
Mountadam Estate Chardonnay 2009 Australia $21.95
Deep lemon colour with intense aromas of peach, pear, toast, buttered popcorn, nutmeg, vanilla. The mouthfeel is creamy with a long butternut finish. This is the Chardonnay lovers Chardonnay. At $22 this is a bargain for such a big wine. Pair with roasted Butterball turkey. Yes, Butterball!
Chapoutier Belleruche Blanc Grenache Blanc 2013 France $16.95
A pretty wine crafted from 50% Grenache Blanc balanced with Clairette and Bourboulenc grapes. 100% Stainless Steel fermentation and aging produce a fresh steely wine with aromas and flavours of stone fruit, citrus, steely minerality, and a touch floral. Refreshing acidity and long citrus finish.
There is something about little bubbles dancing in a flute that makes any event festive. This time of year the LCBO is filled to the rafters with bubbles for all your holiday toasts! Here are my favourites from this VINTAGES release:
Ontario makes excellent sparkling wines. Made using traditional Champagne methods and grapes - Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. This sparkler spent two years "en tirage" or "on yeasts" which gives that yummy bread note in the wine. Green apple, stone fruit, hint of floral, yeast. Delicate and persistent mousse. You can feel confident serving it to your entourage New Years Eve.
Sumarroca Gran Reserva Brut Nature Cava 2009 Spain $18.95
My love affair with Cava continues. Pale lemon green with lots of tiny persistent bubbles. The nose is clean and offers green apple, lemon, lemon zest, biscuit, pear. The palate is dry with lively acidity and noted baked bread. The length is medium on a crisp palate cleansing finish. Not overly complex but good quality and the price is right!
Taittinger Nocturne Champagne NV France $73.95
Delicate mousse with persistent tiny bubbles. Aromas and flavours of baked apple pie, biscotti, citrus, wet hay, toast, sweet baking spices. Medium+ acidity. Demi sec. The length is long on a creamy finish. This is a special occasion sparkler. Toast a Christmas wedding or Happy New Year!
In my next column I will make my red and dessert wine choices. Until then...
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